Nift, a start-up network designed to help SMBs match neighborhood businesses with local customers by leveraging AI machine learning algorithms, has raised $16.5 million in Series A funding from Spark Capital, Foundry Group and Accomplice.
Springbot, a marketing platform for e-Commerce merchants, has launched Springbot Exchange, a data cooperative for SMBs. The solution is designed to give these retailers access to data and resources typically only available to large companies.
JOANN, the craft and fabric chain with more than 865 stores in 49 states and an e-Commerce business, has launched a multifaceted program called JOANN+ for high-volume customers, including businesses, nonprofit and community organizations, and entrepreneurs. The tagline for the program is “Think Big.”
Components of the no-fee program include:
- Bulk pricing on every product;
- Rebates of $25 for the first $500 spent by members and 5% on every following purchase;
- Flexible payment and financing plans;
- Dedicated customer service and help with sourcing for special orders; and
- Direct shipping tailored to the customer’s preferences.
Google, Facebook, eBay and Pitney Bowes are collaborating with branches of the federal government to launch the Getting to Global Initiative (GtG), which aims to provide U.S. businesses with resources to grow their exports to overseas markets.
The public/private partnership will incorporate digital tools from the four participating technology companies, along with data, services and expertise from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
On Dec. 14, when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to repeal current net neutrality regulations designed to ensure that consumers have equal access to the Internet, content providers like YouTube and Netflix were not the only companies worried that their offerings could take a major hit. While effects of the repeal likely won’t be felt until 2018 at the earliest, e-Commerce retailers now must adjust to an uncertain environment — one in which they may have to pay up in order to get out in front of the consumer.
The main argument against the repeal is that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) won’t be required to treat all data the same, so they could potentially charge users more to access specific sites or view certain content, or impose tighter data caps. Additionally, ISPs could force Internet companies and web sites to pay more for faster connections — potentially leading to the slowdown or even blocking of online traffic.
Since 2010, Shopify’s competitions for entrepreneurial SMBs have helped create more than 100,000 new businesses that have sold millions of dollars in products. For 2017, the cloud-based commerce platform is partnering with New York Times best-selling author Tony Robbins for the Build a BIGGER Business competition, which is now open to applicants.
The competition is open to privately held businesses in the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand that have been in operation for at least one year. The businesses must already sell on the Internet; migrate to or already operate on Shopify; and have 2016 sales between $1 million and $50 million (U.S.).
Samsung Electronics America and payment processing provider Total Merchant Services have released the Groovv POS Flex platform designed for SMBs.
Groovv POS Flex features a Samsung Galaxy Tab E 9.6” Tablet and an EMV-compliant, NFC-enabled payment processing device that is pre-programmed with software for inventory management, reporting and integrated marketing.
“Without leaving the digital invoice that has been sent to them via QuickBooks, a supplier can pay the invoice amount with just the click of the PayPal button,” said Dan Leberman, VP and General Manager for North American SMB at PayPal. “If they are already launched in PayPal when they get the invoice, it just takes one touch to pay — there’s no password or other data entry needed.”
Payment processing and technology provider Vantiv has announced an agreement to bring the Verifone Carbon Commerce Platform to market in the U.S. The platform will be a key feature of Vantiv’s SmartFit Solutions, which help SMBs keep pace with connected commerce.
“We found that businesses want smarter, more secure technology to provide advanced payments, create loyalty and grow their business,” said Patty Walters, Senior Leader of Security, PCI, EMV and Terminals at Vantiv in a statement.
Verifone Carbon will be loaded with Vantiv’s tablet-based payments system for retailers and restaurants. Working with partner iMobile3, a provider of POS and commerce software, Verifone Carbon offers additional functionality including order and inventory management, tools for online analytics and reporting, and a gift card program.
The upcoming 2016 presidential election certainly has captured the attention of most U.S. consumers for both its political and entertainment-driven value. But as retailers and shoppers await the results with uncertainty, consumer spending may not be significantly impacted. In fact, retail sales have increased 0.6% in September 2016 — the biggest spending jump in three months.
The majority of consumers have stated that the election results aren’t going to affect their holiday spending, according to RetailNext. As many as 70% of shoppers say that if Republican nominee Donald Trump is elected, their spending habits will not change, while 68% say the same if Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is elected.